Cape Town – It isn’t an easy balancing studying and being in a band, but for Early Hours they are certainly putting in the hours needed to achieve their goals, and it has definitely been paid off for the hardworking 20-year-olds.
The band soon became the first South African artists to reach 1 million streams on a single track on SoundCloud. Early Hours had four consecutive top 10 singles on 5FM and their latest achievement is that the band will get to open for The Lumineers when they perform in the city next month.
While all the success is appreciated by the band, it certainly hasn’t come without its fair share of challenges, especially since the trio considering all three all are studying – with lead singer Jake Bennet studying in Boston.
“I think that the biggest challenge for us is trying to balance everything. Some bands are balancing studying and performing, but we’re also balancing a time difference and a 6 000-mile gap,” Bennet said. “We make do with Skype calls, voice notes and love letters...”
“And pictures of food,” joked bassist Benson Joubert.
Bennet is majoring in song writing at Berkley College of Music, which counts John Mayer, Gangnam Style’s Psy and local band Beatenberg’s Matt as previous alums. Lead guitarist Adam Rothschild and Benson Joubert are studying at the University of Cape Town.
Rothschild is currently majoring in Spanish and Media while Joubert is studying Business Science Information Systems.
When asked how they make it work, Bennet smiled and said: “We haven’t slept in months.”
Rothschild said: “The main goal is music, and we’re pursuing studies because it’s really good to have different interests and different places to draw inspiration from. I do really think that all the skills we’re leaning now will be useful to us one day.”
“Especially now that artists have to do it themselves and they’re not necessarily getting snapped up by a record label that has designated people for various things,” Joubert added.
Bennet said: “There’s nothing I find more attractive in an artist than someone who has got brains behind them.” .
They released their EP First Light late last year, and it was a experience that tested them in many a lot of ways, benefiting all of which only benefited them in the end the band believes.
“Adam and I had always written all of our music together sitting in a room or classroom with two guitars and trying to see what we could come up with that day, but we wrote most of First Light having finished high school,” Bennet said.
“I was working in a bar, and started studying and because we weren’t around each other as often, inspiration would strike from one of us separately, and often Adam would put a full instrumental demo together in his bedroom and I would scribble down lyrics behind a bar counter or after a shift.”
“So it felt like more of an achievement when we achieved this goal that we’ve had since high school of releasing our first body of work.
“We hit 19 and we felt that we had a lot to say, so we put together five tracks on the EP and I think they all fit together really well. An album one day would be amazing, but for now we’re a little too distracted.”
They went on to explain that their music process also differs, especially now as they are doing it across two continents – this has allowed them to do things “out of the box”.
“Our process changes all the time and on our EP, there were times when Adam had written music purely instrumentally which, as a writer, I don’t know how someone could come up with something without any words, but that is something that he can do and that is amazing,” Bennet said. “Because of the distance, the song writing is something we have to make a lot of time for individually.”
The band has been selected to showcase at the Canadian Music Week next month and is the opportunity to open for The Lumineers, which has them giddy.
Rothschild said. “It’s a huge opportunity for us, and we’re excited.”
Bennet said: "They’ve given us the opportunity to perform our music in front of people who might not have known us otherwise and I think that is cool about The Lumineers. They went for us instead of another band who sound exactly like them.”
“I think the biggest impact for me was after finding out,” Benson added. It wasn’t real beforehand but afterwards people that I didn’t know knew that I was in a band and would come up to me and tell me that they’re so proud of us for The Lumineers gig.”
When asked what comes after The Lumineers, Rothschild said they are looking forward to playing across South Africa. “We have a lot of behind the scenes work for the next month and then we hit the road and do our thing. We’ll all be in South Africa around May to August really just playing anywhere we can.”
* To win one two signed copies of the band’s EP, e-mail [email protected] with your name, surname and city using “Early Hours” in the subject title.